“Spirited coming of age novel romps from strength to strength…I’m a Moran fan.”



This is one of those books that caused a huge hype when it was released, but also one of those I wasn’t sure I fancied or not. In the end I saw it a few weeks ago in the charity shop and picked it up.

I‘ve been in a bit of a reading rut and finding it hard to get into anything but I have to say this was the perfect book to read myself out of a rut with.

As soon as I started reading I realised that Johanna Morrigan, the central character is the same age as me and I found myself laughing at her ‘life in the 90s through the eyes of a teenager’ wisdom. Johanna lives in a council house with her crazy dysfunctional family and this coming of age book is laugh out loud funny!

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I read a book and find myself thinking ‘I wish I could write like this’, and this is one of those times. Moran’s dialogue is witty, touching and so very, very relatable. She captures life growing up as a girl perfectly, good bits and bad, making this an incredibly funny and touching novel.

Although Moran is clear that How to Build a Girl is a piece of fiction, it’s hard not to draw parallels with her own life, becoming a music journalist and growing up in Wolverhampton in a council house with a disabled, ex-musician father. How to Build a Girl must be at least semi-autobiographical but it’s so hilariously and cringingly honest in places I can see why any author would be happy to keep readers guessing as to which bits are true.


Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 10th January 2016

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Kath Cross